September 8th - Language Industry Shunto 2020 Organising Meeting

Union leaders from around Japan representing workers at major language schools will meet to start planning Shunto 2020.

The first stage of planning will be creating a comprehensive assessment of working conditions at all the major schools.

Our goal is to make sure the highest common denominator is used at all schools to set working conditions, as opposed to the race to the bottom that employers want to force on us. 


ECC And Berlitz Members Win Big In 2018! Let's Do It Again In 2019!

While collective bargaining took much longer than usual at these two workplaces, we were able make significant gains at both workplaces.

At ECC, bargaining focussed on four main demands: an across the board pay increase for all members; pay for special paid congratulatory and condolence leave; the return of the union's right to talk to new teachers at company orientation sessions; and the return of the company's rent subsidy for the ECC branch office.


Nichibei Eigo Gakuin Teachers & Okayama Bus Drivers Have A Lot In Common

So what do Nichibei Eigo Gakuin teachers and Okayama bus drivers have in common? Thinking outside the box!

When we hear of industrial action we usually think of strikes. In reality though, it can take many different forms, and be just as effective.


James [English School] And The Giant [Lack Of Unemployment Insurance]?

The Unemployment Insurance System (koyou hoken; aka shitsugyou hoken) in Japan is fairly clear-cut: if you are unlucky enough to lose your job, you'll receive unemployment support benefits for a period of 90 - 330 days depending on age and length of enrollment.


Illegal Contract Clauses Part V - James English School

James English School, established in 1976, is a "successful chain of English schools operating throughout Northern Japan". Spread across the Tohoku region, it "offers a wide range of classes, from Kids (2 years old and up) to Adults (Groups, Private Lessons, and Company Lessons)".


Caveat Subscriptor:

With the recent rise in “Uber-style” services, and the up-tick in companies attempting to use social media applications in the workplace in an attempt to make themselves seem "trendy", it should come as no surprise that there are people in Japan who see this trend and wonder: "how can I use something like this to make money at the expense of naive but well-meaning foreigners?"

One answer to that question is yet another suspect "student introduction service":


For Japan’s English teachers, rays of hope amid the race to the bottom--Japan Times

A very decent article from the Japan Times covering the "eikaiwa" industry published on 7 January 2016 which also covers a lot of work the General Union has done to win improvements.

We must note that there is a small error in the part about Berlitz. The union's recent victory did not include any back pay.


GABA & NOVA Independent Contracting - It's Not Just A Japan Thing

"Independent Contracting" at Gaba and Nova is putting the working conditions of all English teachers, both those in the eikaiwa and university sectors, in danger. In private talks , some of the larger language school chains have complained that Gaba effectively saves 30% on labor costs by falsely categorizing instructors as independent contractors and denying them paid annual leave, unemployment insurance, and other benefits. This strategy has had a ripple effect, with one Kansai university claiming its teachers are independent contractors.


Happy Halloween. Do you have your costume ready?

Halloween has exploded in Japan and most language schools make an event of it, requiring teachers and staff to wear costumes to lessons or a school party.

While some people don't mind, the union, and the Labor Standards Law, doesn't believe that employees should be burdened with the cost of a costume. If it is a requirement of your job to wear a costume the school should either provide costumes, or reimburse teachers for the cost of buying one.


Wearing jackets – What you said

Back in December we asked the question "Does wearing a jacket make you a better teacher?" In 2 months we had a total of 138 respondents and the answer was a resounding "No". All 138 people said that jackets have no bearing on the quality of teaching.


Does wearing a jacket make you a better teacher?

Some language schools, including AEON and Gaba, have policies that either require teachers to wear a jacket, or at least heavily encourages it. ECC even tried to link salary increases to wearing a jacket, however, through negotiations members were able to have "wearing a jacket" removed from their evaluations.


Late Wages at Lang, Hiroshima

The threat of being named in an Unfair Labour Practice Case and civil proceedings has finally got the attention of the “silent” foreign national co-director of Lang.



  • AEON

    AEON Teachers: Working Too Much?

    Myth 1
    Aeon would have you believe the reason you are feeling overworked is because you are either lazy or have never done an honest day’s work in your life. They will tell you that Japanese people generally work harder and never complain about it. That just isn’t true.

    The reason you feel overworked is because you are - new teachers especially.  Read more


    What we've won at AEON:

    • Unemployment Insurance for every AEON teacher. AEON was the last of the major eikaiwa chains to enrol their foreign teachers, but after a dismissal case handled by the GU, AEON was forced to obey the law.
    • Health and Pension Insurance (shakai hoken)and a pay rise to cover your costs.
    • Grievance Procedure. After having dealt with a few individual consultations with AEON teachers regarding unpaid wages and dismissals, AEON agreed to follow the same grievance procedure that the GU uses at all the big employers for problems.


    Article Count:
  • Amity
    Article Count:
  • Berlitz
    Improving workers' lives at Berlitz since 1993
    Article Count:
  • British Council
    Article Count:
  • Coco Juku
    Article Count:
  • ECC


     Join Now    Union Dues


    Your rights at ECC
            Worth JOINING for

    • Advice and Support
    • Collective Bargaining for Better Conditions
    • Protection and Job Security
    • Workplace Health and Safety

    To protect your rights at work the best thing you can do is join the union. Union members get advice and support from our staff and workplace representatives. Membership is open to any ECC employee, part or full time, of any nationality.


    Article Count:
  • Gaba
    Article Count:
  • Independents
    Article Count:
  • Panasonic Excel
    Article Count:
  • Nova
    Article Count:
  • Nichibei
    Article Count:
  • OTC
    Article Count:
  • Shane English School
    Article Count:
  • YMCA
    Article Count:
  • Peppy Kids Club

    Teachers, both Japanese and foreign, have formed a union at Peppy Kids Club. First negotiations took place on August 6. Some issues have already been resolved, with talks continuing on other points.

    Improvements in Working Conditions

    As we prepare for the next round of negotiations, we need your input. Please take our survey if you haven't already. And don't forget to encourage your Japanese coworkers to take the Japanese アンケート.

    Interested in joining? Or just want to know more?
    If you are ready to join just complete the application form. Monthly dues are between 500-3000yen. Please talk to us if you are in financial need. If you just want to find out more email us and we can answer your questions. Alternatively, we would be happy to set-up a consultation by telephone or in person.


    Article Count:

Additional information